Evaluating Ohio Yield Possibilities for 2019 Agricultural Risk Coverage County Level Payment Rates

By Ben Brown, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, The Ohio State University- August 10, 2020

Click here to read PDF version of article

The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) made minor structural changes to both the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs in relation to the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill). However, one of the nonstructural changes made in the 2018 Farm Bill adjusts the primary yield sources in creating Farm Service Agency (FSA) yields for the ARC-County program. Starting with the 2019 program year, which runs from September 1, 2019- August 31, 2020 for corn and soybeans and June 1, 2019- May 31, 2020 for wheat, Risk Management Agency (RMA) yield data is the preferred data source in a cascading formula for FSA county yields, whereas National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) data previously severed as the primary source. Realizing FSA reserves the right to adjust county yields, area-based RMA yields can only estimate, not predict, final FSA county yields. This article reviews RMA area-based reported yields for the 2019 crop year in Ohio and compares them to county-based NASS survey yields released February 21, 2020.

Cascading Yield Preference

Considerable debate during the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill related to accuracy of county-based yields and yield differences between county yields for the ARC-County commodity program. FSA is authorized to make commodity program payments, but uses external agency yield data to create ARC-County yields. While both RMA and NASS report county-based yields, NASS yields are based on voluntary farmer-reported survey results, whereas, RMA county yields are based on farmer certified yields as completion of crop insurance contracts. Fraudulent crop insurance reporting is subject to criminal liability. Legislators perceive RMA data to be more accurate even though there is no statistical difference between the two data sets. After years of using NASS yields as a primary data source for FSA yields, Congress mandated FSA to use RMA yields. FSA holds the right to adjust RMA yields before setting 2019 ARC-County yields.

Two scenarios where FSA may adjust RMA yields before certifying county yields:

  • there is a low number of insured acres in a county for the respective crop overweighting county yields on few acres and
  • counties where RMA insured yields are significantly different than NASS reported survey yields.

Table 1. Cascading Method for Certified FSA Yields.

2014 Farm Bill 2018 Farm Bill
1.     National Agricultural Statistics Service 1.     Risk Management Agency
2.     Risk Management Agency 2.     National Agricultural Statistics Service
3.     State Farm Service Agency Committee 3.     State Farm Service Agency Committee

RMA and NASS yield data comprises approximately 90% of the historical base acres enrolled in ARC-County. The State FSA Committee uses any available data for the remaining 10%.

Area RMA Yields and Blended Irrigated and Non-irrigated Yields

Not all insured acres in a county for a specific crop are used to calculate county yields, as not all individual policies trigger an insurance claim. Yields are captured for area-based insurance policies to calculate potential revenue or yield policy indemnities. Area policies are not as popular as individual policies across the country, but policy participation varies. This study uses Supplemental Coverage Option yield data as the assumed RMA data source. Area-based RMA policies are also released by practice (organic, irrigated, following another crop, and others). The 2018 Farm Bill adjusted the ARC program by authorizing specific counties to have both irrigated and non- irrigated ARC-County eligible payments. For counties with one combined ARC payment rate a blended yield is used by weighting the share of acres in each practice. Figures 1, 3, and 5 illustrate the blended yield per county for Ohio. Figures 2, 4, 6 illustrate the percent change between RMA SCO yields and NASS survey yields. Shaded counties have NASS yields larger than one standard deviation either positive or negative.


According to RMA, Clinton County had the highest area yield at 193 bushels per acre, whereas Carroll County had the lowest area yield at 95 bushels per acre. NASS estimated the state corn yield to be 164 bushels per acre. Corn irrigation is a relatively minimal practice in Ohio compared to other corn producing states. Four Ohio counties do have both an irrigated and non-irrigated ARC- County payment: Champaign, Pickaway, Ross, and Williams. For 2019, there was no reported difference between irrigated and non-irrigated yields in any of the four counties.


Figure 2. illustrates percent change of NASS survey yields from RMA reported yields. Thirteen out of sixty-eight counties were greater than one standard deviation. Red and purple shadded counties are where RMA and NASS were noticably different in yield reports. These thirteen counties have the greatest likelihood of being adjusted before FSA certifies the county yield.

For soybeans, there were three counties where RMA did not have either insured soybean acres or enough data points to protect producer identification: Belmont, Monroe, and Noble. Clinton County had the highest soybean yield at 59 bushels/acre, where Coshocton had the lowest at 31 bushel/acre. Eleven Ohio counties receive sepearte ARC-County payment rates by practice- Allen, Auglaize, Champaign, Hardin, Putnam, Seneca, Shelby, Union, Van Wert, Williams, and Wyandott. Only four had different irrigated and non-irrigated yields as represented by Table 2.

Table 2. Irrigated and Non-irrigated Soybean Yields (bushels per acre).

Practice Champaign Union Williams Wyandot
     Irrigated 53 49 56 49
     Non-irrigated 44 43 50 47


Figure 4. illustrates percent change of NASS survey yields from RMA reported yields. Grey shaded counties are counties were either NASS or RMA data was missing. Since, NASS yields are derived from a voluntary producer survey, a certain number of responses are required to generate an appropriate sample size. Frequent rains during the spring of 2019 delayed planting in parts of Ohio and some counties that normally have NASS soybean yields did not have enough observations to calculate a NASS yield, represented in Figure 4 by grey shading. Eleven Ohio counties had a NASS value that was greater than one standard deviation from the corresponding RMA yield. Most notable were Lawrence where the reported SCO RMA yield was 50 bu./acre and a NASS survey yield of 35 bu./acre for a deviation of almost 45%. Conversely, Coshocton County had an RMA yield of 31 bu./acre, but a NASS yield of 45 bu./acre and a nearly a 31% deviation.

Seventy-six Ohio counties had a reported RMA wheat yield in comparison to fifty-eight with NASS survey yields. Wheat yields were highest in Southwest and South Central Ohio and weakest in Northeast Ohio. Although, Fulton County in Northwest Ohio had the stronger wheat yield at nearly 70 bu./acre. Medina County had the smaller wheat yield at almost 28 bu./acre.  Ohio does not have any counties with both an irrigated and non-irrigated wehat ARC-County payment.


In comparison to corn and soybeans, wheat had the largest amount of Ohio counties where the NASS survey yield was outside one standard deviation at twenty-six counties and the largest percent deviations (Figure 6). It is likely the largest number of county adjustments to certified FSA yields will be for wheat. The majority of counties indicate NASS wheat yields are higher compared to RMA reported yields, foreshadowing a greater change of triggering ARC-county payments.


Final FSA yields and corresponding ARC-County payment rates will not be released to the public for several more weeks. However, the cascading yield discovery method established in the 2018 Farm Bill identifies RMA reported area yields as the first source for FSA county data. Using SCO area yields and weighting by share of irrigated and non-irrigated acres should be a good indication of FSA certified yields expected to be released in October. FSA does hold the right to adjust yields using other available data. Counties with a deviation greater than one standard deviation in NASS survey yields and RMA reported yields will be the most likely candidates for adjustments. County wheat yields are more likely to be adjusted than corn and soybeans.


United States Department of Agriculture- Farm Service Agency. “Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Program Handbook.” Page 5-131. October 28, 2019. https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/1-arcplc_r01_a03.pdf

United States Department of Agriculture- National Agricultural Statistics Service. “Ohio Corn County Estimates 2019.” February 21, 2020. https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Ohio/Publications/County_Estimates/2019/2019_OH_corn_CE.pdf

United States Department of Agriculture- National Agricultural Statistics Service. “Ohio Soybean County Estimates 2019.” February 21, 2020. https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Ohio/Publications/County_Estimates/2019/2019_OH_soy_CE.pdf

United States Department of Agriculture- National Agricultural Statistics Service. “Ohio Wheat County Estimates 2019.” December 12, 2020. https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Ohio/Publications/County_Estimates/2019/2019_CE_Wheat_Ohio.pdf

United States Department of Agriculture- Risk Management Agency. “2019 County Supplemental Coverage Option Yields.” July 15, 2020. https://webapp.rma.usda.gov/apps/RIRS/SCOYieldsRevenuesPaymentIndicators.aspx

Specialty Crops Available for CFAP Funding

by:  Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR Tuscarawas County

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced earlier this year the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).  Developed earlier this year, CFAP is intended to assist farmers who suffered economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Initial payments were made available to growers of certain non-specialty and specialty crops, dairy, livestock, and wool producers.  On July 9, 2020 USDA announced additional specialty crops eligible for economic assistance.  The list of specialty crops includes:

  • alfalfa sprouts, anise, arugula, basil, bean sprouts, beets, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, celeriac (celery root), chives, cilantro, coconuts, collard greens, dandelion greens, greens (others not listed separately), guava, kale greens, lettuce – including Boston, green leaf, Lolla Rossa, oak leaf green, oak leaf red and red leaf – marjoram, mint, mustard, okra, oregano, parsnips, passion fruit, peas (green), pineapple, pistachios, radicchio, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, fresh sugarcane, Swiss chard, thyme and turnip top greens.

The USDA also expanded CARES Act funding for sales losses for seven currently eligible commodities – apples, blueberries, garlic, potatoes, raspberries, tangerines and taro – because USDA found these commodities had a five percent or greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, these commodities were only eligible for marketing adjustments.

How to Apply for CFAP

Producers have several options available to apply for CFAP funding:

  • The online portal, accessible at farmers.gov/cfap, allows producers with secure USDA login credentials—known as eAuthentication—to certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center.
  • Complete the application form using the Farm Service Agency CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator found at farmers.gov/cfap. This Excel workbook allows customers to input operation specific to populate the printable application form. The application form needs to be signed and submitted to a USDA Service Center.
  • Download the AD-3114 application form from farmers.gov/cfap and manually complete the form to submit to a USDA Service Center by mail, electronically or by hand delivery to an office drop box. In some limited cases, the office may be open for in-person business by appointment.

Where to Apply for CFAP Funding

Eligible growers need to contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.  Visit farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status  to check the status of your local FSA office.   New customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer general assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.  If you have been enrolled in previous FSA programs, you may contact your local FSA office to discuss CFAP program eligibility and begin the enrollment process.

Additional Information

If you are interested in learning more about CFAP for specialty crops, please visit https://www.farmers.gov/cfap/specialty.

Economic Assistance Available for Dairy Farms

by: Dianne Shoemaker, OSU Extension, shoemaker.3@osu.edu

Click here for PDF version of article

One hundred and fifty days.  In only 150 days we have gone from anticipating a solid year of recovery for the dairy industry to seeing an April Class III price of $13.07 per cwt, the lowest Class III milk price in 10 years, with May announced at $12.14 on June 8th.  In that same time period major market disruptions occurred for nearly every commodity with impacts all along the food chain.  The response to the anticipated economic impact at the farm level has been swift, with a variety of options available to assist dairy farms.   We will touch on a few of them here, including links for additional information.  Every farm should review these options and see if there are opportunities to assist with cash flow shortfalls.

PPP– Paycheck Protection Program

At the end of May, there were still funds available for the PPP.  This low-interest loan program, authorized by the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Assistance Act) is administered through the SBA (Small Business Administration) to assist small businesses, including farms.  The maximum loan amount is calculated as up to 2.5 months of qualifying payroll expenses as well as sole proprietor income.    While loan proceeds can be used for any business expense, if it is used for specific expenses including payroll, utilities, mortgage interest or some rental payments within a specified time period, some portion or all of the loan may be forgiven.  Farms must apply through an SBA approved lender.  Find approved lenders and more information at http://sba.gov.   Recipients must apply for loan forgiveness.  Applications for forgiveness are now available, but specific guidance on eligible items and time periods continues to be announced.

EIDL – Economic Injury Disaster Loan

This is another CARES-authorized SBA program which is currently open only for farm applications at the sba.gov website.  Farm businesses and agricultural cooperatives with no more than 500 employees may apply for EIDL, which gives loans up to $2 million for businesses that suffer economic injuries due to COVID-19.  An “emergency advance” component provides an advance of up to $10,000 even if the loan is not approved.  The advance may be forgiven if the farm does not also have a PPP loan that is forgiven.  Clarification is pending.  Approved loans will incur 3.75% interest for terms up to 30 years.  Collateral will be required for larger loans.  Applications taken on-line only.  Find more information at http://sba.gov.

CFAP – Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

The intent of this program is to directly assist farms impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Sign-up began at your local FSA (Farm Service Agency) office on Tuesday, May 26th and continues through August 28th.  FSA offices currently work with clients via email, fax, and phone by appointment.

Two funding sources are being used for this program, CFAP ($9.5 billion), and CCC, the Commodity Credit Corporation, ($6.5 billion).  The sources and uses are being tracked separately by FSA, but the payments will be combined and distributed to farms as a single payment.  Payment limits have been raised for this program only, to $250,000 per farm or up to $750,000 for farms that are set up as corporations, limited liability companies, or limited partnerships (corporate entities).  If these entities have up to three shareholders who meet eligibility requirements, they may be eligible for up $750,000 of assistance.  Eligibility requirements include gross farm income levels, wetland, and conservation compliance, and for individuals involved in multiple-shareholder situations, time spent actively working or managing in the farm business.  Once a farm has been approved, they will receive a first payment of 80% of the total calculated payment up to $200,000 per entity (80% of the $250,000 payment limitation).  If there are still funds available, the remaining 20%, or a prorated amount based on remaining funds available, will be paid at a later time.

The CFAP program is based on the change in futures prices between the weeks of January 13 – 17, and April 6 – 9, 2020.  Commodities that experienced a decline of greater than 5% are included in this program.  For dairy, that decline was around 33%, or $5.88 per cwt., calculated by USDA as the weighted average of the Class III price (60%), and the Class IV price (40%) which was selected as a reasonable representation of the trend of the US all-milk price.

Dairy markets took a severe beating since January and only recently trended upward in June – and will only actually settle at decent price levels going forward if supply aligns with demand.  We cannot keep milking more and more cows.

The program’s dairy (milk) section will yield the greatest assistance to qualifying farmers.  Cull cows, bull calves and dairy steers are included in the cattle section.  Farms that sell qualifying grain crops which were subject to price risk in the first quarter of 2020 will also find assistance in that section.

CFAP Dairy Calculation

Milk produced in January, February, and March (first quarter 2020) that was not priced through a forward contract, is eligible for assistance.  The formula for dairy is:

1st quarter milk production (cwt.) x $4.71/cwt. (CARES act rate)


(1st quarter milk production x 1.014) x $1.47/cwt. (CCC rate)

  • The CARES rate of $4.71/cwt represents the price loss in Jan, Feb, and March.
  • Part two of the equation applies a projected 1.4% production increase.
  • The CCC rate represents anticipated price losses in April, May, and June.


Background Information:

A herd with 100 milking cows ships an average of 80 pounds of milk per cow per day or a total

of 7,280 cwt. of milk for the period January – March 2020 (91 days):

Dairy formula

1st quarter milk production (cwt.) x $4.71/cwt. (CARES act rate)

7,280 cwt x $4.71 = $34,288.80


 (1st quarter milk production x 1.014) x $1.47/cwt. (CCC rate)

(7,280 cwt x 1.014) x $1.47 = $10,851.42


$34,288.80 + $10,851.42 = $45,140.22 Total

80% or $36,112.18 will be paid shortly after the application is approved

These program payments are not subject to sequestration deductions.

The increase in payment limitations for this program has increased the assistance available to larger farms.  Using the simple example above, a herd with 500 milking cows shipping 80 pounds per cow per day would have a calculated total payment of $227,050, leaving an opportunity to apply for some assistance based on cull cows and bull calves sold between January 15 and April 15, 2020 before reaching the $250,000 payment limit.

Cull Cows

Dairy cull cows qualify for assistance in the “Slaughter Cattle – Mature Cattle” category.  The definition for these animals is “culled cattle raised or maintained for breeding purposes, but which were removed from inventory and are intended for slaughter.”  For animals sold between January 15 and April 15, the payment rate is $92 per head.  The dairy breeding stock herd is not eligible for a per-head payment.

Bull Calves, Dairy Steers

These animals, because they are going into beef production channels, qualify as either “Feeder Cattle less than 600 pounds” or “Feeder Cattle more than 600 pounds”.  Cull heifers sold for beef production would also be included in these categories depending on weight.  Animals less than 600 pounds are eligible for $102 per head (CARES Act rate) if they were sold between January 15 and April 15.  Animals greater than 600 pounds sold in the same time period are eligible for assistance at $139 per head (CARES).  For farms that finish steers (or heifers for beef) that meet weight requirements of 1,400 pounds liveweight or more with an average carcass weight greater than 800 pounds intended for slaughter are eligible for $214 per head (CARES rate).  The CCC rate applied to these animals is based on the highest inventory between 4/16/2020 and 5/14/2020.  If the farm keeps an inventory of animals for beef production, the highest inventory of animals between 4/16/2020 and 5/14/2020 is eligible for a $33 per head payment.  For cull cows, it appears that the highest inventory will be the total number of cows culled between 4/16 and 5/14.  For bull calves, the highest inventory between 4/16 and 5/14 would be equal to the largest group of calves sold in that time period.

Feed and Grain

Clarifications issued by FSA indicate that corn silage converted to bushels of grain is eligible for the CFAP program as well.  Farms that also sell grain and other eligible commodities can make application for those commodities.

Applying for CFAP

Farm Service Agency offices are working with farms via phone, fax, US mail, and internet.  Most FSA offices will ask for supporting documentation for milk and livestock sales at the time of application.  Participating farms should also keep records of those sales for at least three years.

At the FSA office, information is collected via a user-friendly spreadsheet found along with additional program information at  https://www.farmers.gov/cfap.  Farmers who have not previously applied for FSA programs can find information for first-time applicants at this web site or call 877-508-8364 for additional assistance.  While documentation is not collected at time of application, it may be requested for verification or spot checking during the next three years.

Dairy prices have taken tremendous hits, which were painfully obvious in the April final milk checks.  The Class III milk price of $13.07 is the lowest since April 2010 and even with a positive producer price differential of $1.15, well below cost of production. May will be more of the same.

These programs will help with some of the resulting cash shortfall.  Find more information about all these programs and others that may assist with COVID-19 related employee-related leave and unemployment issues at http://dairy.osu.edu and http://farmoffice.osu.edu.

Dairy farms are facing huge challenges this spring and have to make many unanticipated decisions.  Our OSU Dairy Working Group is responding with DIBS (Dairy Issue Briefs) to help inform those decisions.  These “breaking news” DIBS are posted regularly at http://dairy.osu.edu



CFAP Program for Beef Producers

By David Marrison, OSU Extension, marrison.2@osu.edu

Click here to access a PDF version of the article

Since the beginning of January, market prices for major commodities have fallen sharply since COVID-19 reached the United States.  There have been many efforts through federal and state legislation to offset the impact of COVID-19.

Enrollment is currently being taken by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) for one such program targeted to help agricultural producers.  This program called the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is providing financial assistance for losses experienced as a result of lost demand, short-term oversupply and shipping pattern disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The general details about the CFAP program can be found in a previous article written by the OSU Farm Office team.  This article can be accessed at:  https://go.osu.edu/CFAP-2020


The purpose of this article is to describe how CFAP can provide assistance to beef producers and to answer questions posed on the classification of animals.  Complete details about the livestock portion of CFAP can be found on the Farm Service Agency’s website at farmers.gov/cfap/livestock


To be eligible for CFAP, a producer must have shared in the risk of producing an agricultural commodity which suffered a five percent or greater price decline or who had losses due to market chain disruptions due to COVID-19.  The decline for the beef industry over this time period was over 25% thus making it an eligible commodity.

Producers do not have to have prior program participation in a federal farm program in order to participate in CFAP.  However, new applicants must complete a farm operating plan and complete additional eligibility paperwork such as citizen status, farm operating structure, adjusted gross income verification, and highly erodible land and wetland certification.  Producers who have previously participated in FSA programs will have most of these forms on record at their local FSA office.

CFAP payments are subject to payment limitations of $250,000 per person.  This limit is the sum of all eligible commodity payments paid to a person or entity. Special payment limitations (maximum of $750,000) will be applied to participants that are corporations, LLCs, and limited partnerships classified as corporate entities. As applications are approved, 80% of the payment will be released with the remaining 20% held and paid at a later date if adequate funds remain.

Livestock Program:

Funding for CFAP originates from both the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).  Because of this, payment rates are split in two parts for the livestock (and non-specialty crops) program.  Eligible livestock include cattle, sheep (yearlings and lambs only), pigs, and hogs.

The CARES portion is intended to provide producers with financial assistance to “help offset sales losses and increased marketing expenses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Meanwhile, the CCC funding “is based on projected costs that are likely to be incurred by cattle producers for marketing their 2020 inventory due to unexpected surplus and disrupted markets”.  The support from CFAP is to assist producers with losses, but not intended to cover total losses.

Cattle producers can participate in either or both components of the program. All sales and inventory of livestock must have been subject to price risk as of January 15, 2020. A contract grower who does not own the livestock is eligible if the contract allows the grower to have price risk in the livestock. Any livestock subject to an agreed upon price in the future through a forward contract, agreement, or similar binding document as of January 15, 2020 is ineligible.

A single payment will be calculated using the sum of two parts:

Part 1: Livestock sales (number of head) between January 15, 2020 and April 15, 2020 multiplied by the corresponding animal species CFAP Act payment rate per head. See CARES Act payment rate in Table 1.

Part 2: The highest amount of livestock inventory (number of head) on any day between April 16, 2020 and May 14, 2020 multiplied by the corresponding species CCC payment rate per head. See CCC payment rate in Table 1.

Separate payment rates exist for cattle of different size and age classifications: slaughter cattle-mature cattle, slaughter cattle-fed cattle, feeder cattle less than 600 pounds, feeder cattle 600 pounds or more; and all other cattle.

Table 1: Payment rates for non-specialty crops, dairy, and livestock
Commodity Unit CARES Act Payment Rate ($/unit) CCC Payment Rate ($/unit)
Slaughter Cattle- Mature cattle head $92 $33
Slaughter Cattle-Fed cattle head $214 $33
Feeder cattle less than 600 pounds head $102 $33
Feeder cattle 600 pounds or more head $139 $33
All other cattle head $102 $33


An example of the payment which a beef producer may receive is as follows:

Background Information:

A cattle producer sold 50 head of feeder cattle on 3/20/2020 which weighed more than 600 pounds

The highest number of cattle on-hand was 100 head of “other cattle” on 5/1/20

Livestock formula

Animals (head) sold 1/15/20-4/15/20 * CARES Rate

(50 head * CFAP Payment Rate of $139) = $6,950


(Head of unpriced animals 4/16/20-5/14/20 * CCC Rate)  

(100 head  * CCC Payment Rate of $33) = $3,300


Total Payment of $10,250 (80% or $8,200 will be paid initially)


Classification of Cattle:

In the initial days of CFAP enrollment, questions have arisen regarding how to classify different beef animals and how to track sales and inventory.  This is especially important when classifying animals marketed between January 15 and April 15, 2020 as the CARES Act part 1 payment rate is different between cattle classifications (range of $92 to $215).  To help producers, the FSA has published a classification of cattle table (see Table 2).

Table 2: Classification of Cattle
Cattle Common Name Description CFAP Category
Newborn Calf Calves from birth to days old Feeder Cattle: < 600 lbs
Calf Calves still nursing the cow, animals that generally weigh less than 500 pounds Feeder Cattle: < 600 lbs
Bucket Calf Orphan or newborn calf normally purchased when they are 1 to 10 days old Feeder Cattle: < 600 lbs
Heiferette A female bovine animal that has not calved and weighs more than 500 pounds; OR a heifer placed on feed following the loss of a calf or an open heifer placed on feed following the breeding season Feeder Cattle: < or > 600 lbs, as applicable
Steer A castrated male bovine animal that generally weighs more than 500 pounds Feeder Cattle: < or > 600 lbs, as applicable
Weaner or Weaned Calf Animal between 105 and 355 days coming from cow-calf Feeder Cattle: < or > 600 lbs, as applicable
Backgrounded Cattle Steers and heifers that are fed a warm up or conditioning ration are normally fed to approximately 700 pounds, and then sold as feeders or shipped to another feedlot to be finished for the slaughter market Feeder Cattle: < or > 600 lbs, as applicable
Stockers/Feeders/Feeder Calves Young weaned steers or heifers, weighing approximately 400-800 pounds usually grazing on pasture and/or feed ration to prepare for shipment to feeders intended for slaughter or selected for replacement stock Feeder Cattle: < or > 600 lbs, as applicable
Yearlings Calves between 1 and 2 years of age Feeder Cattle > 600 lbs
Open Heifer Non-pregnant female bovine Feeder Cattle: < or > 600 lbs, as applicable
Replacement Heifers A heifer that has been selected to be bred and placed in the beef herd All Other Cattle
Bred Heifers A female bovine that is pregnant with her first calf All Other Cattle
First Calf Heifers A young female that has had only one calf All Other Cattle
Bred Cows A female bovine animal that has borne at least one calf All Other Cattle
Open Cows – Retained in Herd (Non-pregnant) cows at the end of the breeding season All Other Cattle
Open Cows – Slaughter (Non-pregnant) cows at the end of the breeding season Slaughter Cattle: Mature
Cows-Culled (Beef and Dairy) A cow that is removed from the main breeding herd or dairy production for one or more reasons (i.e., age, poor production, physical ailment, poor disposition, genetic selection, etc.) and is generally sold for slaughter and not destined to be a replacement Slaughter Cattle: Mature
Herd Bulls-Culled (Beef and Dairy) A mature (approximately 24 months of age or older) uncastrated, male bovine removed from the main breeding herd sold for slaughter and not destined to be replacement Slaughter Cattle: Mature
Herd Bulls (Breeding-Beef only) A mature (approximately 24 months of age or older) uncastrated, male bovine used for breeding purposes All Other Cattle
Finished Cattle (1200 lbs or more) Cattle that have reached the optimal weight and conditions ready for slaughter Slaughter Cattle: Fed
Fat Steer/Heifer (1200 lbs or more) Cattle that have reached the optimal weight and conditions ready for slaughter Slaughter Cattle: Fed

Source: https://www.farmers.gov/cfap/livestock

Proof of Sales & Inventory:

Producers self-certify when they apply for CFAP. To complete the CFAP application, producers will need sales receipts and inventory records. However, since CFAP is a self-certification program, this documentation will not need to be submitted with the application.  Producers may be asked for additional documentation to support their certification.  Supporting documentation should be kept for a minimum of three years.  It is recommended producers contact their local FSA office to determine what types of records are acceptable for proof of livestock marketed (CARES Act part 1 payment) and for on-hand inventory (between April 16, 2020 and May 14, 2020).

CFAP Payment Calculator:

The Farm Service Agency has developed a CFAP Excel payment spreadsheet which allows producers to input information specific to their farm to determine estimated payments.  It can also be used to populate the application form to submit to your local FSA office. Producers can download the spreadsheet and other eligibility forms from farmers.gov/cfap

Enrolling in CFAP:

Eligible producers can sign up for assistance at their local Farm Service Agency office. Producers can find the local FSA Service Center contact information by visiting this link: https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app  Currently, due to COVID-19 restrictions, FSA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only. The FSA has streamlined the sign-up process and will be working with producers via phone and using e-mail, fax, mail, and online tools to accept applications.  Sign up concludes at close of business on August 28, 2020.


Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, https://www.farmers.gov/cfap

Livestock and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, https://www.farmers.gov/cfap/livestock

Sign up for USDA-CFAP Direct Support to Begin May 26, 2020, OSU Extension, https://go.osu.edu/CFAP-2020



Ohio Soybean State of Soy Webinar

The Ohio Soybean Council will be sponsoring a Ohio Soybean State of Soy webinar on Tuesday, June 9 beginning at 10:00 a.m.  Ben Brown, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Agricultural Risk Management  in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics at The Ohio State University will be the featured speaker.

During this webinar, Ben Brown will speak on soybean market fundamentals, trade update and assistance programs. There is no cost to attend this program.  For more information, visit

Farm Office Live Webinar Slated for Thursday, June 11 at 9:00 a.m.

OSU Extension is pleased to be offering the a “Farm Office Live” session on Thursday morning, June 11 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.  Farmers, educators, and ag industry professionals are invited to log-on for the latest updates on the issues impact our farm economy.

The session will begin with the Farm Office Team answering questions asked over the two weeks.  Topics to be highlighted include:

  • Updates on the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program
  • Prevent Plant Update
  • Business & Industry CARES Act Program
  • EIDL Update
  • CFAP- update on beef classifications and commodity contract eligibility
  • Dicamba Court Decision Update
  • Other legal and economic issues

Plenty of time has been allotted for questions and answers from attendees. Each office session is limited to 500 people and if you miss the on-line office hours, the session recording can be accessed at farmoffice.osu.edu the following day.  Participants can pre-register or join in on Thursday morning at  https://go.osu.edu/farmofficelive 


Navigating Direct Support for Ohio’s Farmers and Ranchers Webinar on May 27 at 9:30 am

Join OSU Extension’s Ben Brown and Dianne Shoemaker for a webinar  on “Navigating Direct Support for Ohio’s Farmers and Ranchers” on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 9:30 am with special guest, Ohio Farm Service Agency Director Leonard Hubert.  This webinar is generously produced and distributed by Ohio Ag Net.

This webinar is produced and distributed by Ohio Ag Net.

The webinar will be available for viewing at https://farmoffice.osu.edu/, or through Ohio Ag Net’s Facebook Live Video.

Sign up for USDA-CFAP Direct Support to Begin May 26, 2020

Ben Brown, Peggy Kirk Hall, David Marrison, Dianne Shoemaker and Barry Ward
The Ohio State University

Since the enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, 2020 and the announcement of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) on April 17, 2020, producers in Ohio and across the country have been anxiously awaiting additional details on how the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will provide financial assistance for losses experienced as a result of lost demand, short-term oversupply and shipping pattern disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The additional details on CFAP eligibility, payment limitations, payment rates, and enrollment timeline arrived on May 19, 2020, when the USDA issued its Final Rule for CFAP.  In this article, we explain the Final Rule in this issue of News from the Farm Office.

Click here to read the complete article

Starting Tuesday, May 26, 2020, producers can contact their local FSA office and begin to sign up for CFAP.  This bulletin serves as the authors’ interpretations of the Final Rule released by USDA, and FSA interpretation may be different.

OSU Extension and Ohio FSA will conduct a webinar in the upcoming days to outline program materials and answer questions. For information about the webinar and additional information on CFAP, please visit farmoffice.osu.edu.

Information provided on the program by USDA along with a webinar for new FSA program participants is available at farmers.gov/CFAP.

Ohio Corn, Soybean and Wheat Enterprise Budgets – Projected Returns for 2020

by: Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

COVID-19 has created an unusual situation that has negatively affected crop prices and lowered certain crop input costs. Many inputs for the 2020 production year were purchased or the prices/costs were locked in prior to the spread of this novel coronavirus. Some costs have been recently affected or may yet be affected. Lower fuel costs may allow for lower costs for some compared to what current budgets indicate.

Production costs for Ohio field crops are forecast to be largely unchanged from last year with lower fertilizer expenses offset by slight increases in some other costs. Variable costs for corn in Ohio for 2020 are projected to range from $359 to $452 per acre depending on land productivity. Variable costs for 2020 Ohio soybeans are projected to range from $201 to $223 per acre. Wheat variable expenses for 2020 are projected to range from $162 to $198 per acre.

Returns will likely be low to negative for many producers depending on price movement throughout the rest of the year. Grain prices used as assumptions in the 2020 crop enterprise budgets are $3.20/bushel for corn, $8.30/bushel for soybeans and $5.10/bushel for wheat. Projected returns above variable costs (contribution margin) range from $109 to $240 per acre for corn and $179 to $337 per acre for soybeans. Projected returns above variable costs for wheat range from $152 to $262 per acre.

Return to Land is a measure calculated to assist in land rental and purchase decision making. The measure is calculated by starting with total receipts or revenue from the crop and subtracting all expenses except the land expense. Returns to Land for Ohio corn (Total receipts minus total costs except land cost) are projected to range from -$48 to $72 per acre in 2020 depending on land production capabilities. Returns to land for Ohio soybeans are expected to range from $65 to $214 per acre depending on land production capabilities. Returns to land for wheat (not including straw or double-crop returns) are projected to range from $70 per acre to $173 per acre.

Total costs projected for trend line corn production in Ohio are estimated to be $759 per acre. This includes all variable costs as well as fixed costs (or overhead if you prefer) including machinery, labor, management and land costs. Fixed machinery costs of $75 per acre include depreciation, interest, insurance and housing. A land charge of $187 per acre is based on data from the Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents Survey Summary. Labor and management costs combined are calculated at $67 per acre. Details of budget assumptions and numbers can be found in footnotes included in each budget.

Total costs projected for trend line soybean production in Ohio are estimated to be $517 per acre. (Fixed machinery costs: $59 per acre, land charge: $187 per acre, labor and management costs combined: $46 per acre.)

Total costs projected for trend line wheat production in Ohio are estimated to be $452 per acre. (Fixed machinery costs: $34 per acre, land charge: $187 per acre, labor and management costs combined: $41 per acre.)

Current budget analyses indicates favorable returns for soybeans compared to corn but crop price change and harvest yields may change this outcome. These projections are based on OSU Extension Ohio Crop Enterprise Budgets. Newly updated Enterprise Budgets for 2020 have been completed and posted to the Farm Office website: https://farmoffice.osu.edu/farm-mgt-tools/farm-budgets



Being and Maintaining an Economically Resilient Farm

by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County

The word “resilience” is used often in the agricultural press.  What does this mean?  Merriam-Webster defines resilience as:

  1. The capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress.
  2. An ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change.

We often see resilience used in agriculture when discussing climate and weather.  There is documented evidence of weather changes that have impacted agriculture, and farmers have done their best to adapt to these changes.  Examples include building soil health, managed grazing, the use of cover crops, water management strategies, technology adoption, and more.

Resilience can also be used when discussing the economics of agriculture and the resulting effects.  It is no surprise to anyone in agriculture that people are strained, are experiencing stress, and are trying to adjust to new and different ways of operating.

Strategies to Be Economically Resilient

  • Mission statement

A mission statement is a short description of the fundamental reasons your business exists – its critical purpose.  The statement aligns what the business says it does, what it actually does, and what others believe it is about.  The statement reflects the underlying values, goals, and purposes of the business.

Example mission statement:

“The mission of Brown Family Farms is to produce high-quality crops in sufficient quantity and quality to provide a good standard of living for our family and employees.  We believe a farm is the perfect environment to raise a family and strive to have the farm remain a viable business for future generations.”

  • Set Goals

An acronym commonly used to describe goals is SMART.  Goals must be Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Timed to be useful management tools.  As you develop goals, it may be helpful to divide them into personal, production, and operational categories.

Goals should be:

Specific – and focus on a specific problem or need

Measurable – to have some means of tracking achievement

Action-oriented – action is the pathway to achieving goals

Realistic – aim high, but keep goals within the realm of possibility

Timed – to include a realistic completion date

  • Know Your Cost of Production

Do you know the true costs to produce every acre of a crop, every pound of milk, every ton of hay, and each pound of meat?   Are there some crops or livestock that make more money than others?  Are there some acres that could be converted to a use that provides a higher net return?  How does your farm compare with the established farm financial ratios?  An in-depth financial analysis can help answer these and other questions.

Visit the Ohio State University Extension Farm Profitability Program (https://farmprofitability.osu.edu/) for additional information or to enroll in the Benchmarking Program.

  • Postpone Major Capital Investments

Most everyone is already doing this, but it is a good idea to assess what investments are necessary, how urgent these needs are for your farm, and the cost of these investments.  Do you really need to buy a new piece of equipment?  Could you accomplish what is needed by hiring someone or renting the equipment?  If you need to make a major capital investment, consider not only the initial cost, but the associated “DIRTI 5” – Depreciation, Interest, Repairs, Taxes, and Insurance that must be accounted for after the purchase.

  • Restructure Debt

Discuss with your lender opportunities to refinance or restructure debt.  Do you have short-term liabilities that could be moved to intermediate notes to improve cash flow?

  • Evaluate Expenditures

Analyze your expenses to see where you might be able to trim costs without sacrificing production.  For example, can you reduce your seeding rates to reduce costs?  Ohio State University Extension has been conducting on-farm research to evaluate corn and soybean seeding rates.  Contact your Extension educator or review the trials reports here https://digitalag.osu.edu/efields/efields-reports.  Dairy farms will find helpful information and cost-control considerations here https://dairy.osu.edu/.

Talk with your nutritionist, agronomist, Extension educator, and other experts to evaluate inputs and expenditures.  Do you need every ingredient in your ration?  Do you need a seed variety with every available trait?

  • Reduce Family Living Expenses

The Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2018 indicate average family living expenses equaled $61,224 annually.   A February 2019 article published by the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota show a family of three averages almost $64,000 annually in family living expenses before paying income taxes or making other non-farm capital purchases and investments.  Are there “extras” that are costing too much?  Evaluate what you want versus what you need as a family.

  • Consider Non-Farm Income

The current pandemic may make finding off-farm employment more difficult, but there are opportunities.  Look in the local newspaper, conduct online searches, let family and friends know you or a family member could use help finding employment.  Calculate how much you need to earn at an off-farm job.

  • Seek Opportunities to Be Entrepreneurial

 Challenging times might not seem like the opportunity to get creative and extend the current workload further, but there likely are tangential opportunities to your existing business that meet the needs of the community. Maybe that is offering storage facilities, tree trimming, bookkeeping, or other enterprises. This can reenergize someone in a time when it is easy to feel down and creates a productive diversion. Some of the best creative work in this country came from a less than opportune economic environment.

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

To say that operating a farm business in today’s environment is a challenge is an understatement!  There are plenty of people who want and are available to help you sort through the complexities, answer questions, and provide guidance to help you succeed.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditures – 2018,  https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cesan.nr0.htm

Characteristics of Financially Resilient Farms, University of Nebraska, https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2018/characteristics-financially-resilient-farms

Developing Goals for the Agricultural Business, Ohio State University Extension, https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/anr-45

Family Living Expenses Add Up, Center for Farm Financial Management, University of Minnesota, https://finpack.umn.edu/family-living-expenses-add-up/

Whole Farm Planning Model, Ohio State University Extension, https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/anr-52